In what might be termed the audacity of nope, the government has declined to call this al Qaeda–inspired mass murder an act of terrorism because to do so would be “unfair to the victims.”
The official reasoning is that it would jeopardize the case because, as stated in a Pentagon memo, “defense counsel will argue that Major Hasan cannot receive a fair trial because a branch of government has indirectly declared that Major Hasan is a terrorist—that he is criminally culpable."
That has not stopped the government from calling the 9/11 attacks anything but terrorism. The 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon has on display the Purple Heart, the medal awarded to all the soldiers who were killed or injured there that day.
But the Purple Heart has been denied the soldiers who were killed or wounded at Fort Hood. And, because they were classified as victims of simple calamity rather than of combat, they and their families have been denied the accompanying benefits. A number of them say they have not even been able to secure adequate care for their wounds.
And, perhaps in part because people assumed that the army would take care of the soldiers as it would any other fallen and wounded warriors, there was no huge outpouring of financial support for them as there would later be for, say, the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
To her great and everlasting credit, nobody has been more vocal about all this than one of the two heroic police officers who took Hasan down and ended the carnage.
“Betrayed is a good word,” Police Sgt. Kimberly Munley has said of the way the soldiers have been treated.
Munley speaks up on behalf of the soldiers even though as a civilian she would be ineligible for the medal or the benefits, even though she was wounded in the attack.
And Munley has more than enough cause to complain about how she and her equally heroic comrade, Police Sgt. Mark Todd, have been treated themselves.
You likely recall all the accolades that Munley and Todd received after the attack.
Maybe you saw them on television seated beside the first lady at the State of the Union address, Munley still in pain from the bullet wound in her leg.
You may not know that both of them were subsequently laid off due to budget cuts.
You also may not know that Todd suffered a stroke this past Christmas, two days after returning from Afghanistan, having gone to work there for a civilian contractor when his heroism at Fort Hood failed to save him from being “excessed.”
The stroke apparently left him unable to speak, but he has nonetheless been placed on the list of potential witnesses as the trial gets under way at Ford Hood.
The judge in the military tribunal initially denied—but may reconsider—a prosecution request for permission to submit instead Todd’s testimony at an earlier hearing, when he had his full powers of speech. He may still be required to testify in writing.
More articles from The Daily Beast:
- If Sexting Is So Wrong, Why Does It Feel So Good?
- Virginia’s Gubernatorial Race Has Turned Into a Sad, Sleazy Circus
- Senator Places Hold on Top Defense Department Nominee
© 2013 Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC Photo by Getty Images